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COVID-19 as ‘Game Changer’ for the Physical Activity and Mental Well-Being of Augmented Reality Game Players During the Pandemic: Mixed Methods Survey Study [2020]

5 Jan 2021

By Louise A Ellis, PhD; Matthew D Lee, MS, RN; Kiran Ijaz, PhD; James Smith, PhD; Jeffrey Braithwaite, PhD; Kathleen Yin, PhD

Background: Location-based augmented reality (AR) games, such as Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, have been shown to have a beneficial impact on the physical activity, social connectedness, and mental health of their players. In March 2020, global social distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the AR games developer Niantic Inc to implement several changes to ensure continued player engagement with Pokémon GO and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. We sought to examine how the physical and mental well-being of players of these games were affected during the unprecedented COVID-19 restriction period as well as how their video game engagement was affected.

Objective: The aims of this study were to examine the impact of COVID-19–related social restrictions on the physical and mental well-being of AR game players; to examine the impact of COVID-19–related social restrictions on the use of video games and motivations for their use; and to explore the potential role of AR games (and video games in general) in supporting well-being during COVID-19–related social restrictions.

Read the Paper: Mixed Methods Survey Study [2020]

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